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China Launches Its First Interplanetary Station To Mars

China Launches Its First Interplanetary Station To Mars

The Changzheng-5 (CZ-5) heavy launch vehicle launched on Thursday with the first Chinese mission to explore Mars, Tianwen-1.

The launch of a rocket with an Automatic Interplanetary Station (AMS) "Tianwen-1" with a total mass of about 5 tons, which consists of an Orbiter and a landing platform with a Rover, was carried out at 07:45 from the launch pad LC101 of the Chinese Wenchang cosmodrome, located on Hainan island.

The goal of the Chinese mission is to find traces of life on Mars, as well as explore opportunities for its potential colonization by humans.

The station should reach the red planet in seven months - on February 11, 2021. At this time, it will begin to perform a braking maneuver and enter the orbit of Mars.

For about two months, the station will conduct a detailed survey of the surface of the red planet to select the most suitable landing site. It is planned that on April 11, 2021, a landing platform with a light 240-kilogram Rover will separate from the Orbiter and land on the surface of the planet. The preliminary landing site was chosen in the southern part of the Utopia plain in the Eastern part of the Northern hemisphere of Mars.

The planned duration of the Rover is 90 Martian days (sols), which is 2.7% longer than Earth's. Its power supply will be provided by four solar panels. The speed of movement of the Chinese Rover reaches 200 meters per hour.

The Chinese Rover is equipped with multispectral cameras for navigation and topography, a subsurface sounding radar station for studying the geological structure of Mars up to 10 meters deep, a device for analyzing the chemical composition of the soil and searching for biomolecules, as well as magnetic field detectors and a weather station.

As for the Orbiter, it is equipped with two cameras, including high-resolution, subsurface radar for sounding the ground to a depth of 100 meters and an infrared spectrometer for determining the mineralogical composition of rocks on the surface of the planet. Besides, it has a magnetometer, ion and neutral particle analyzer, and a charged particle detector for studying the atmosphere and space environment. Its main task will be to build a topographic map of Mars, study the ionosphere and the composition of the Martian soil, as well as search for ice deposits under the surface of the red planet.

This is the second earth mission to Mars since the beginning of the week. On Monday, the Al Amal spacecraft ("hope") went to the red planet on a Japanese h-IIA carrier rocket") the United Arab Emirates. The Orbiter is designed to study the Martian climate and the lower atmosphere, where the red planet's weather is formed, including dust storms.

It is planned that the Al Amal spacecraft will reach Mars by the date of the 50th anniversary of the formation of the UAE in 2021. It will be placed in an elliptical orbit with a height of 40 thousand km.

According to NASA, on July 30, the American Perseverance Rover will also go to the red planet.